Jason Day’s WD Leaves Bettors Scrambling for Better Injury Information

Jason Day

On Thursday, Jason Day teed off as one of the favorites to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational at +1400, and for good reason.

The world’s No. 11-ranked golfer was coming off back-to-back top five finishes at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Farmers Insurance Open, along with a 13th place finish at the Tournament of Champions earlier this year. On top of that, Day is a previous winner of the tournament, winning at Bay Hill in 2016.

Day backers went from phone-in-their-hands to head-in-their-hands after the golfer withdrew just six holes into the first round. Day, who is known for a suffering a slew of injuries and illnesses over his career, cited a back injury when he got into the locker room.

An MRI no one knew about

As first reported by Golf Channel’s Will Gray, an MRI earlier in the week revealed an annular tear in his L4-L5 discs.

But who knew? Not golf bettors or the ~20% people who drafted him in DFS contests, that’s for sure. 

For that reason, the withdraw has caused quite a stir in the betting/DFS community over the last 24 hours. Some places like DraftKings Sportsbook in New Jersey offered bettors a refund but there’s still the bigger issue of of how injuries should be reported in the future.

Many people are asking, with sports betting becoming more popular, should the PGA Tour do more to disclose golfer’s injuries before tournaments begin?

Currently, the PGA considers medical information confidential and does not require players to disclose injuries before tournaments. 

In a statement to the Golf Channel, a PGA Tour official said, “Individual players may choose to disclose illness or injury at their discretion, as is often the case when a player withdraws during a tournament or mentions the status of a new or existing injury or illness in media comments.”

But even without mandated pre-tournament injury reporting, it still seems like someone should have caught this. The signs were there. 

On Wednesday, Day withdrew from the pro-am due to the injury. Where were the reports and did no one on site think to ask Day for the reason of his withdrawal? 

Mixed feelings

Whether they should change or will change their injury-reporting policy are two different questions. 

The first question is complicated, and many people, including tour players have different views, as Gray reported. 

Jimmy Walker and Brendan Steele both acknowledged that the issue is complicated considering the role injuries play in sports betting.

Other golfers dismissed gamblers’ cries for more information. Kevin Kisner said, “It’s nobody’s business,” double downed on that, saying, “I don’t really give a s*** about the DFS.”

Brandt Snedeker echoed that sentiment, albeit less harshly. 

“That’s why they call it gambling,” Snedeker said. 

PGA embraces gambling, but how will they inform bettors?

This is a complicated topic that will only get more spotlight as more states pass legislation to regulate sports betting this year. 

Most recently Major League Baseball enacted a new lineup rule requiring teams to submit lineups “to the commissioner’s officer rather than the team’s own public relations department or to the media,” as our own Thomas Casale reports

The MLB cited “integrity” issues for the policy change, but many people think the policy raises more questions than answers.

Like the MLB, the PGA has embraced gambling over the last year. PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan expects the rise of sports betting in the U.S.  to help increase fan engagement.

Monahan said, “We have for the last couple of years put all the systems in place from an integrity program to monitoring program to our ShotLink technology in place so we can be in a position to participate.”

In November, the PGA inked a deal with IMG Arena, IMG’s sports betting service, to be their data distributor for “media usage and sports betting purposes.” 

If the PGA wants the benefits of sports betting-produced engagement, they’ll need to consider how to actually better inform bettors.

For now, golf bettors will have to rely on golfers disclosing information on their own and reporters being more inquisitive. 

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